Attributes for outside counsel selection (Kirkpatrick & Lockhart’s 2005 Top of Mind survey)

An earlier post today commented on the methodology of this survey. Here, I accept the data as given, and remark on part of the findings.

The interviews asked the senior decision-makers to rank eight law-firm attributes for the degree to which companies were influenced by the attribute in selecting counsel. [I set aside for this post the relative infrequency with which even large companies select law firms they have not worked with.] The scale for the responses was from 1 (low value) to 10 (highest value.)

Communicate effectively 8.8
Work as part of a team 8.2
Enjoyable attorneys 6.4
Hourly rates 5.2
Racial diversity 3.2
Gender diversity 3.1
Proportion African-American 3.0
Pro Bono Activities 1.7

Some thoughts: (a) legal experience and capability must have been presumed to be givens, not worth asking about; (b) knowledge of the company or its industry seems odd to be omitted; (c) productivity and responsiveness are included on most lists of attributes; (d) why are there three choices on diversity, when the scores are so low; (e) “hourly rates” should have been worded more broadly, such as “cost in relation to value”?; and (f) what about technology resources, geographic diversity, and non-business relationships?

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